Public Announcements

 

Report from the Annual Conference

ALA ANNUAL CONFERENCE

DENVER, COLORADO

APRIL 2 - 5, 2017

 Before I begin my comments, I would like to thank the entire Richmond Chapter, our dedicated Board Members along with our outstanding Business Partners for allowing me the opportunity to win this scholarship. 

I admit I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the ALA National Conference. I have been fortunate enough to attend several Regional Conferences over the years, but nothing prepared me for the sheer numbers at this level. There were over 1,000 attendees, approximately 190 vendors, and over 90 sessions to choose from for educational opportunities. 

The energy level was high in the “mile high city.” The great thing about any ALA conference is the opportunity to meet people from different cities and talk with them about their own experiences as legal administrators. From firms with 5 attorneys to those larger than life firms with hundreds of attorneys and staff, we all share the same goal. We want to learn as much as possible about the latest technology, software programs, marketing ideas, office supplies, and the list continues. The small firm administrators need to learn a little of everything, while the large firm attendees may only want to focus on one or two areas. Believe me when I say, there is something for everyone. 

The conference opened with Archie Manning as our Keynote speaker. What a wonderful opportunity to hear him talk about his life and family. He gave us some real insight into his family and the values he and his wife taught his famous and talented children. He spoke of Peyton, Eli, Cooper and his grandchildren with love and pride in his voice. He married his college sweetheart Olivia and they’ve stayed together for over forty years.   He is an inspiration   and when you hear him speak, you are motivated to go back to your office and build a team. His leadership comments cause you to stop and think about how each of us can be a better leader in all aspects of life. 

The hardest thing about the conference is choosing which sessions to attend. I studied the program for weeks before I arrived in Denver trying to cover all of the bases. You have three days of back to back sessions and over ninety sessions available. Some of my choices were: 

  • Business Writing Blitz

  • Business Writing: Digital Communication

  • Replacing the Annual Performance Appraisal Ritual

  • Making Difficult People Disappear

  • The Happy Hour Effect: 5 Key Commitments to Elevate Your Personal and Professional Success

  • Dysfunction Junction: Handling the 10 Most Difficult Law Firm Employees 

Another thought provoking General Session introduced us to the topic of Gray Area Thinking: Understanding Diverse Humans and Welcoming Transgender Attorneys, Coworkers and Clients, led by Ellie Krug. Ellie was a successful male attorney, married to his wife and best friend of approximately thirty years. Together they built a life with children, a huge home, luxury automobiles, and a membership to a prestigious Country Club. Ellie talked about how she followed her inner voice and went through the transgender process to become the woman she is today. She gave up a lot of material items, hurt people she loved deeply, but followed her inner voice. Ms. Krug now speaks professionally and provides training on diversity and inclusion. 

In summary, I would say the National Conference has great resources for everyone. People to compare notes with, interesting speakers and educational sessions galore. There are social events in the evenings, a silent auction and a wonderful, positive overall atmosphere.

Pam Frazier, DurretteCrump PLC